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Ghislaine Maxwell jury must work New Year's if no verdict

Ghislaine Maxwell
Posted at 9:04 AM, Dec 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-29 12:40:10-05

NEW YORK — The jury in the Ghislaine Maxwell sex trafficking trial has been told it will have to work through the New Year's holiday if it hasn't reached a verdict by the end of the week.

Judge Alison Nathan informed the jury Wednesday of the expectation after they asked whether they had to work on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. The question was the latest sign that the jury was not near a verdict as it began its fifth full day of deliberations.

The judge told lawyers that there was a high risk that jurors and trial participants may need to quarantine if they get the virus.

Jurors returned for the fifth day of deliberations Wednesday to consider the sex-trafficking charges against Maxwell, a British socialite. She is charged with grooming teenagers as young as 14 to be sexually assaulted by financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Epstein was arrested in July 2019 on charges of sexually abusing dozens of girls. He died by suicide in jail a month later.

Epstein had previously served 13 months in jail in connection with a 2008 Florida conviction on prostitution charges and solicitation of a minor. Experts have called that conviction a "sweetheart deal" between Epstein and local prosecutors.

Epstein's high-profile connections with leaders like Prince Andrew and former presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump have put a worldwide microscope on Maxwell's trial.

Maxwell's lawyers say she's a scapegoat for the crimes that were levied at Epstein before his death.

Maxwell faces six charges linked to sex trafficking, conspiracy and enticing minors. She'll also face two charges of perjury, which will be tried at a later date.

Maxwell has been held without bail since she was arrested in July 2020.

The jury has provided few hints as to which way they're leaning. They requested multi-colored sticky notes, a whiteboard, and some trial transcripts on Monday. They also asked for the definition of enticement and a question pertaining to the law.

The jury was given a few days off last week to celebrate Christmas.